Mamata Banerjee won a resounding victory in the by-poll from Kolkata today, which was crucial for her to continue as the Chief Minister following the defeat at Nandigram. She won with a record margin of 58,832 votes over her BJP rival.
The Chief Minister polled more votes than in 2011 at the Bhabanipur constituency in south Kolkata. The seat was vacated for her by state minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay.
The Chief Minister hailed the results by flashing three fingers — representing her election slogan of “Ma, Mati, Manush” — instead of the traditional victory sign. “We are winning at Shamsherganj and Jangipur as well,” she said.
“What is most heart-warming is, I have not lost in a single ward in the constituency. The last time, I had trailed in a couple of wards. There were a lot of conspiracies against us in the April elections. We are grateful we won… I lost in Nandigram but the matter is in court,” she added.
Mamata Banerjee, who lost the battle for Nandigram against her close aide-turned-foe Suvendu Adhikari in the April-May assembly elections, had to win an assembly seat before the end of six months to continue as the Chief Minister.
The BJP had fielded Priyanka Tibrewal — a lawyer and a long-time resident of the constituency — against Ms Banerjee.
Although the 41-year-old lost the recent assembly polls and the 2015 municipal polls, she has become well-known as one of the petitioners in the post-poll violence case against the state government.
Mamata Banerjee had contested from Nandigram — where her agitation had catapulted her to power a decade ago — as a challenge to Mr Adhikari, who had joined the BJP in the run-up to the election.
The challenge was seen to have acted as a tonic for her party. Her defeat in Nandigram was the one big blot on Trinamool Congress’s stupendous victory for a third term in face of the BJP’s powerful election machine.
The Trinamool is also in the lead at Murshidabad’s Samserganj and Jangipur seats, where by-elections were held after the deaths of two candidates.
In Samserganj, Trinamool candidate Amirul Islam is leading by 3,768 votes after the fifth round of counting. Jangipur’s Trinamool candidate Jakir Hossain is leading by 15,643 votes after the second round of counting.